Funday Times - Our History

An unexpected battle

This article is part of a continuing series on the ‘Mahavamsa,’ the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history
By Halaliye Karunathilake, Edited and translated by Kamala Silva, Illustrated by Saman Kalubowila

The armies of Kotte did not bother to survey the surroundings of Sitawaka. The chief commander, Veediya Bandara thought that King Mayadunne and his army had fled, in fear. So he too rested in comfort. In their camp, there were no people who were armed. They had all kept their weapons aside. It was midnight. All of a sudden, there was a flow of soldiers, from all sides. They began to attack.

Everyone in the army was disturbed. They quickly took their weapons and began to attack the unexpected enemy but without any plan. All the soldiers, including Veediya Bandara, fought aimlessly. It was a fight between life and death. Gradually the fighting became very serious. As it was not a planned struggle, the soldiers became weak very soon.

They got caught to the trap set by Mayadunne of Sitawaka. Quite a number died in battle. When Commander Veediya Bandara noticed this, he ordered the army to retreat. In the midst of all this, Prince Rajasinghe had overcome many difficulties and had marched to Sitawaka. When Veediya Bandara saw him, he thought he will not be able to escape from this ruthless and cruel prince. He was sure he would be handed over to the executioner.

It did not happen that way. He was taken to King Mayadunne, who was proud and overjoyed over the victory. He looked sarcastically at this chivalrous commander and laughed in contempt. Veediya Bandara ignored it. He watched all this in silence. Then spoke King Mayadunne. “Look here, Veediya Bandara, did you not try to chase me from the kingdom that I have inherited?”

Veediya Bandara was still silent. He just smiled but did not utter a word. Mayadunne then got angry, stamped his foot and in a hard tone asked him, “Did you not try to chase me from my kingdom?”
continued to abuse Veediya Bandara. Then Commander Veediya Bandara began to speak. “Excuse me O King. I have lost in battle and I’m in your custody now. You have won and you occupy the throne. As it is, there are lots of differences between the two of us.”

“So dear King, it is a difference that is there between a prisoner and a king. It is a grave one. If I too, were at least free like you, I could have answered that question well. But realizing the situation I am in, I prefer to be quiet. I can give no answer,” continued Veediya Bandara. King Mayadunne became speechless and his anger grew. He did not know what to do.

His words were so sharp – as sharp as the blade of a sword. Thereafter, King Mayadunne did not
question Veediya Bandara any further. There was a stone building close to the palace. Mayadunne
ordered his men to imprison Veediya Bandara there. There was a crowd in Sitawaka, who opposed this

They were the people who were waiting to take revenge, for killing Etakon Ralahamy, without any reason. This happened in a battle-field in Kandy. He went there on the orders of the King of Kotte, to take charge of the army. Commander Veediya Bandara, who misunderstood this went to fight him. Veediya Bandara killed him in the fight.

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